More about EFS

EFS Conference: ‘E-commerce, VAT and Customs: Challenges and Opportunities Ahead’

Thursday, 13 February 2020 | 13.30 – 18.30 | Erasmus University Rotterdam

We regret to advise you that this conference is now fully booked.

If you would still like to attend this conference, please send an email to Eva Voordouw ( or Olivier Mirck ( to be put on the waiting list. 

EFS, Erasmus University Rotterdam will present an outlook on indirect tax and e-commerce at its annual spring conference on 13 February 2020.

E-commerce is booming business and is expected to continue growing. However, EU businesses face competition from parties outside the EU who are able, both legally and illegally, to avoid VAT and customs duties on packages sent to EU consumers. Meanwhile the current rules and lack of control measures mean EU member states are also missing out on valuable income. There are clearly many challenges ahead when it comes to VAT and customs legislation on e-commerce. But new rules and technology are also creating new opportunities.

One of the main topics to be discussed at this conference will, of course, be the new rules for VAT and e-commerce applying from 2021. We will examine these rules in an in-depth discussion of the VAT position of platforms and the special reporting options that will be available for e-commerce. The e-commerce challenges regarding customs include ensuring efficient clearance and delivery of low-value and small parcels. The conference will therefore discuss views on appropriate types of trade facilitation and enforcement methodologies.

As well as sharing their views on possible challenges and opportunities for e-commerce, VAT and customs, the academics and other professional experts attending the conference will exchange thoughts on various recent developments and challenges facing the EU. This will be followed by a panel discussion on the possible consequences in practice.

We are pleased to invite tax professionals from the Netherlands and abroad with a background in consultancy and practice and working for government authorities, tax and customs administrations, international organisations, industry or the academic world to attend this conference, which will also officially mark the completion of the 2019 EFS post-master programmes in EU Customs Law and Indirect Taxation. The conference is free of charge and participants are eligible for 3 Permanent Education points.

We look forward to welcoming you on Thursday, 13 February 2020!

Seminar Chair

Prof. Walter de Wit – Erasmus School of Law, EFS, EY


Prof. Madeleine Merkx – Erasmus Schools of Law and Economics, EFS, BDO
Prof. Marie Lamensch – Vrije Universiteit Brussel, KU Leuven, UCLouvain
Pascal Schrijver – Leiden University
Frank Heijmann – Dutch Customs Administration


The above speakers will be joined by:
Prof. Joachim Englisch – University of Münster
Sabina Koczewska – VAT Manager ACT Commodities, former Indirect Tax Manager


13:30 – 14:00 Welcome
14:00 – 14:05 Introduction – Walter de Wit
14:05 – 14:30 New VAT rules for e-commerce: Highlights and insights – Madeleine Merkx
14:30 – 15:00 New provisions for platforms: Impact analysis – Marie Lamensch
15:00 – 15:30 Special VAT simplifications for e-commerce: OSS for distance sales; special arrangements for postal operators and the like – Pascal Schrijver
15:30 – 16:00 Break
16:00 – 16:30 E-commerce from a customs perspective – Frank Heijmann
16:30 – 17:30 Panel Discussion
17:30 – 18:30 Drinks and Networking


Erasmus University Rotterdam
Campus Woudestein
Van der Goot Building (M)
Room Forum, M3-15 (3rd floor)
Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3052 PA Rotterdam
The Netherlands

Seminar Chair

Walter de Wit

Walter de Wit is Professor of European and International Customs Law at the Erasmus School of Law and programme director of the EFS post-master in EU Customs Law. As well as contributing to the Rotterdam School of Management’s Customs and Supply Chain Compliance programme, he is actively involved in research and teaching as part of the Erasmus University’s Indirect Tax master programme. Walter is also a partner at EY, where his work includes advising businesses, national governments and international organisations on indirect taxation, international trade and customs duties.


Madeleine Merkx

Madeleine Merkx is Professor of Indirect Taxes at Erasmus University, specialising in VAT. She is the director of the post-master in Indirect Taxes programme and a board member of EFS. She is a partner at BDO’s tax resource center and an editor of Maandblad Belastingbeschouwingen and FED. She regularly contributes to tax law journals such as EC Tax Review, International VAT Monitor and Weekblad Fiscaal Recht. In 2015 she won the Stevens Prize for her publications.

Marie Lamensch

Marie Lamensch is Research Professor of International and European Tax Law at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and visiting Professor at UCLouvain. Professor Lamensch is the Technical Editor of the International VAT Monitor and a member of various expert groups of the OECD, the World Customs Organization and the EU Commission. She has an extensive publication record in the field of VAT and received IFA’s 2015 Maurice Lauré Prize for her dissertation on the EU VAT treatment of electronic services.

Pascal Schrijver

Pascal Schrijver has a degree in tax law from Groningen University and has been working in VAT practice for over 22 years. Until recently he was an Indirect Tax Partner at Deloitte in Amsterdam, where he focused on technology, media and telecommunication companies, as well as on e-commerce. Pascal also teaches at Leiden University and is a board member of the Dutch Association of Tax Advisers’ VAT section.

Frank Heijmann

Frank is a senior executive with over 30 years of customs experience and in-depth knowledge in the fields of customs legislation, international business, logistics and enforcement strategy. He is recognised for his ability to motivate people and create enthusiasm and support. This has resulted in the collective development and implementation of various novel ideas and solutions designed to achieve a balance between trade facilitation and enforcement and involving partners from trade, government and academia. These results include the Erasmus University’s MSc programme in Customs & Supply Chain Compliance, the BSc in Customs & Trade Compliance, the ‘Pipeline Interface’ supply chain innovation concept, the Innovation approach used by the Dutch Customs Administration, the latter’s multi-year vision on ‘Pushing Boundaries’ and academic research in various customs-related fields.


Joachim Englisch

Joachim Englisch holds a chair in public law and tax law at Münster University’s law faculty. He is also a managing director of Germany’s longest-standing institute for tax law. As well as serving as an appointed member of tax expert groups of the OECD and the EU Commission and advising national governments, he has held visiting positions at several universities in Europe and elsewhere.

Sabina Koczewska

Sabina specialized in indirect taxes in practice after obtaining her master degree in Tax Law from Groningen University. After working successively for Meijburg, BDO and The VAT Consultancy Firm B.V. as a VAT consultant, she became an in-house VAT consultant. In that capacity, she was the Indirect Tax Manager of until November 2019 and is currently the VAT manager of ACT Commodities.

About EFS, Erasmus University Rotterdam

EFS is a partnership between the tax departments of the Erasmus University Rotterdam’s Schools of Law and Economics.

EFS has been a leading education and research institute in the fields of indirect taxes (VAT and customs duties) and direct taxes (personal, corporate and source taxation) in a European and wider international context for over 25 years. EFS aims to pursue and promote academic education and research exploring the implications of international, and particularly EU, law for national tax systems. As well as regularly hosting academic symposia, conferences and lectures, EFS offers a wide range of post-master programmes and top-level seminars.

EFS programmes are taught by renowned professors and guest speakers, whose experience and reputation in their specialised fields guarantee high educational standards. The programmes are designed for tax specialists with several or more years of professional experience, with the diversity in the backgrounds of participants and speakers making EFS a unique network platform for exchanging knowledge.